A Papal joke...<br><br><br>Every time a new Pope is elected, there's a whole lot of<br>rituals and ceremonies that have to be gone through, in<br>accordance with tradition. <br><br>Well there's one tradition that very few people know about.<br>Shortly after the new Pope is enthroned, the Chief Rabbi<br>seeks an audience. He is shown into the Pope's presence,<br>whereupon he presents him with a silver tray bearing a velvet<br>cushion. On top of the cushion is an ancient, shriveled<br>parchment envelope. The Pope symbolically stretches out his<br>arm in a gesture of <br>rejection. The Chief Rabbi then retires, taking the<br>envelope with him and does not return until the next Pope is<br>elected. <br><br>John Paul II was intrigued by this ritual, whose origins<br>were unknown to him. He instructed the best scholars of the<br>Vatican to research it, but they came up with nothing. When<br>the time came and the Chief Rabbi was shown into his<br>presence, he faithfully enacted the ritual rejection but, as<br>the Chief Rabbi turned to leave, he called him back. <br><br>"My brother," the Holy Father whispered, "I must confess<br>that we Catholics are ignorant of the meaning of this ritual<br>enacted for centuries between us and you, the representative<br>of the Jewish people. I have to ask you, what is it all<br>about?" <br><br>The Chief Rabbi shrugs and replies: "But we have no more<br>idea than you do. The origin of the ceremony is lost in the<br>mists of ancient history." <br><br>The Pope said: "Let us retire to my private chambers and<br>enjoy a glass of wine together, then, with your agreement, we<br>shall open the envelope and discover at last the secret." <br>The Chief Rabbi agreed. <br><br>Fortified in their resolve by the wine, they gingerly pried<br>open the parchment envelope and with trembling fingers, the<br>Chief Rabbi reached inside and extracted a folded sheet of<br>similarly <br>ancient paper. As the Pope peered over his shoulder, he<br>slowly opened it. They both gasped with shock. <br><br>It was the check for the Last Supper. <br><br>
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